Home.

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where you hang your hat.

Home again. Home again. Jig, jig, jig (my Mom used to say this one a lot)

And loads of other cliche tag lines that just don’t quite define what it means to be HOME.
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We moved around A LOT when I was a child. That nomadic lifestyle seems to have continued
on into my adulthood (14 houses/apartments, 6 cities, and 3 countries since leaving for college).
For nearly as long as I can remember I’ve had unresolved feelings towards the notion of
“home”. And now in my 30s I’m still grappling with the concept.

For most of my young adult life Page, AZ was home, even after leaving for college. Though we
lived in several different houses within that tiny town, the city limits still created a magical
comfort threshold for years after I didn’t even have a house there anymore. I spent 8 years
playing and growing on the streets of that town. It was the first time that I could remember
feeling settled. But it wasn’t a brick and mortar domicile that evoked that feeling (indeed some
of our homes were tin sided). And I found myself still being envious of my friends who had
lived in the same house since they were born.

On the other hand, being home doesn’t necessarily coincide with the length of time spent in one
location. We’ve lived in a beautiful house in Texas for 2 years, but even now I find myself
sometimes feeling like London is still home. I’ll never forget the trip I took back to Phoenix
when, upon leaving, I felt for the first time since moving to Europe that I was HEADED home
and not leaving it. Perhaps it’s just a mixed dose of nostalgia and “expatriate-romance” causing
these thoughts, but it’s also because I felt very “at home” and comfortable in London. And
while we didn’t have many friends there, the ones we did have were warm and caring.

In fact, there have been times when I didn’t even live in a place but felt very much at home – at
my Sister Lindy’s house in Flagstaff & Colorado, or at our good friends The Bradley’s house in
Phoenix. These are places I’ve visited often, so there’s a level of ease and familiarity. But I’m
certain that my level of comfort has more to do with the wonderful people residing in these
houses than with the frequency and duration of my visits. When you’re with people who feel
like home, home could be anywhere you’re all together. Transversely, if you don’t have good
friends nearby, even the nicest house in the best city can seem foreign.

So I guess HOME is not necessarily a singular place or specific duration of time or the people
you’re surrounded by. Its ALL and NONE of these things in some unknown mix with a
sprinkle of attitude and experience on top.
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I’m learning to make peace with the fact that, for me at least, a definitive definition of HOME
doesn’t exist (yet). And while the ambiguity can sometimes be unsettling, after many years and
many moves I’m learning to be comforted by the fact that indistinctness doesn’t necessarily
mean lost-ness.

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